Today is the last Sunday of Advent. If you are displaying a traditional advent wreath with candles, you will have lighted the three purple candles on the last three Sundays and today you will light the pink candle.
On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we reflect on “peace.”
I remember how people said “peace” in the 1960’s. The word “peace” was used and misused so much that it came to have no meaning, no impact on lives or actions. For some, the word “peace” meant that anything that they did should be accepted no matter what. How tragic that the word “peace” was sometimes used to justify violence and disorder.
On the other hand, today we often think of “peace” as the absence of conflict, of quiet times. We see peace as the absence of war. We limit “peace” to politics or the actions of those around us.
In the scripture Isaiah described the Messiah as the “Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) And, many took this to mean that the first arrival of the Messiah would bring the end to the conflicts in their world. They wanted war to end and they wanted peace to be delivered in such a way that “their side” would “win.”
I know how they feel. I sometimes think that if only the world would do what I think that they should do, all would be well. How wrong I am!
Jesus made it clear that the peace He brought during His life on earth had nothing to do with absence of conflict or of war. He said: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” (Luke 12:51) And, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
As Matthew Henry wrote, “Christ came to give us peace with God, peace in our consciences, and peace with our brethren…” Oh, have no doubt, in this world we will have troubles and tribulations. But, the Peace that the Messiah brought to earth and to our accepting hearts lets us live lives of joy in a world of destruction and violence.
Today, let us rest in His peace.